Picking up my Wii U again to play on Earthlock was definitely one of the better gaming choices that I have made recently. Although the console may be fading into the background with the rise of the Nintendo Switch, Earthlock is making sure the Wii U gets an amazing send off with its addictive style of gameplay. With what can only be described as a beautiful artistic style of character design, environments and even enemies there is little room to doubt that Snow Castle games have created a truly immersive experience.
The story starts out introducing Ivory Lavender, a young protagonist who travels with her Stormdog Taika. From the offset you begin to learn about the world of Umbra and what perils are currently facing its denizens. As the game progresses, numerous different characters are brought into the foray as playable heroes. What Earthlock does exceptionally well to support the diversity between these characters is best learned through the combat system, comprising of turn based strategy based around “Stances” which change your fighting style from Ranged, Melee and more combined with its “Talent Board” which is reminiscent of a jigsaw puzzle with all different talents that link together to improve many aspects of battling. These new talents are unlocked by levelling up your character, so taking on plenty of enemies in battle is the obvious course of action.
The world building and character development are also strongly highlighted early on, primarily with having the ability to change between two main protagonists with different perspectives, play styles and companions. Conversations are also plenty with the NPC’s around each different region give more and more background to the heavily mentioned war and the after effects of a planetary disaster which caused its axis to stop spinning. The game storyline is enough to keep you moving on in the game, to discover what is happening to your world and how you can ultimately be a part of stopping the start of a war.
The games only slight downsides come from the occasional longer load time between scenes which can feel drawn out. Having said that most of the loading screens come with a piece of character art to admire which can make the delay a little more bearable. Even the designs and artwork for the enemies you encounter are well thought out and implemented as you progress though the story. Aside from the few enemies at the start that are clearly there to draw you into the early battles and give you practice with a simple design and limited range of attacks. Even the first boss battle had me gasping at just how intricate and interesting its architecture is and how well it fits into the environment.
Overall, the gorgeous artwork and well-designed map of world environments blends so well with the character’s personalilties and backstories to create a truly wonderful game experience from the very beginning of gameplay. Supported by its modern twist of classic JRPG in a dynamic and interactive way this game is a high contender for most played on my Wii U. Undoubtedly it will be on the consoles of anyone else who should take the leap into fantasy and battles with Earthlock. An incredible effort presented by Snow Castle easily nets this game a 9/10 and a high reccommedation to anyone who enjoys JRPG and fantasy games.
Earthlock: Festival of Magic for Nintendo Wii U released on 07/09/17 and is priced at $9.99/£8.99
In order to review this game I received a code from a PR. This has not impacted on my opinion or review in any way.